A Recap of the Aussies in the Summer League

A Recap of the Aussies in the Summer League

The NBA Summer League is three tournaments built to give young players a chance for court time and for others to showcase their skills in the hope of being rewarded with an NBA roster spot.


With the extraordinary number of Australians, New Zealanders and folks with an Australian connection participating in this year’s Summer League, it’s only natural to keep tabs on these players to gauge how they’re going.


It’s halfway through the Utah Summer League, and a little over the halfway mark of the Orlando Summer League so here is how the competitors from this region are faring:


 Mangok Mathiang – Charlotte Hornets


After spending four years under Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville where his numbers increased every year, it’s no surprise to the see the 24-year-old from Melbourne on a Summer League roster.


After a quickfire six rebounds in only ten minutes, he was rewarded with more minutes in his second game and then even more in the third.  He put the extra court time to good use, putting up eight points and grabbing four boards against the Thunder.



Mathiang is equal second on the team in rebounding at nearly five per contest and with one more game tomorrow against Detroit; he’ll be doing everything he possibly can to secure a roster spot.


Vs. Miami – 10 minutes, 3 points, six rebounds

Vs. Indiana – 15 minutes, 3 points, four rebounds, one assist

Vs. Oklahoma City – 21 minutes, 8 points, four rebounds, one block


Tai Webster – Charlotte Hornets


Fortunately for Webster, he has two opportunities to strut his stuff in the Summer League as he is suiting up for the Hornets in the Orlando Summer League and the Warriors in the Las Vegas Summer League.


Unfortunately, the New Zealand representative and former Nebraska Cornhusker hasn’t seen any court time in Charlotte’s three Summer League games, but hopefully, he can get on the floor for the team’s final game against Detroit tomorrow.


Vs. Miami – Did not play

Vs. Indiana – Did not play

Vs. Oklahoma City – Did not play


Marcus Thornton – Oklahoma City Thunder


The former Sydney King has been travelling the world after his stint in the 2015/16 NBL season, going back to the USA to play in the D-League and then moving on to Italy to play with former NBL MVP winner Rotnei Clarke at Consultinvest Pesaro.


This experience hasn’t translated onto the Summer League court, as Thornton has been given only cameo minutes, and he hasn’t made the most of them.  He is currently field goal-less at 0/4, with his solitary point coming from the foul line.


The Thunder has one game left in their Summer League against Dallas tomorrow, with Thornton praying that he gets more court time and can show the skills that made the Boston Celtics draft him in the 2015 NBA draft.


Vs. Detroit – 5 minutes, one assist, one steal

Vs. New York – 5 minutes, one assist

Vs. Charlotte – 12 minutes, 1 point, two rebounds, one assist, one steal


Terrance Ferguson – Oklahoma City Thunder


In what could only be classed as a clerical error, the Thunder’s first round draft pick will not be suiting up to play in the Summer League.  This is because international players are “required to get a letter of clearance from the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in order to play”, and unlucky for Ferguson, Thunder fans and Australian fans, he hasn’t received this letter yet.


Neither Ferguson or the team have a timeline for when they will receive this letter, so it’s likely that he won’t play in Oklahoma City’s final game tomorrow.


Vs. Detroit – Did not play

Vs. New York – Did not play

Vs. Charlotte – Did not play


Jonah Bolden – Philadelphia 76ers


It’s only been one Summer League game, but Australians are already getting themselves into a frenzy after Bolden’s electric performance against Boston.


He may have only shot 4/10 from the field but the way he ran the floor, used his body and protected the rim on his way to four blocks caused the hype train to leave the station at high speed.



The 76ers have two more games left in the Summer League with the exciting matchup between Bolden’s Sixers and Dante Exum’s Jazz tomorrow.  It may be a crowded front court in Philadelphia, but if he keeps up this exciting brand of basketball, he will be in the mix for a roster spot come NBA season.


Vs. Boston – 22 minutes, 9 points, four rebounds, four blocks


Dante Exum – Utah Jazz


Another player who had an outstanding first game of this year’s Summer League, Exum has a lot of expectation coming into his third NBA season.


After a lacklustre first two seasons which sandwiched a whole year where he did not play due to injury, Exum had a point to prove in Utah’s game against San Antonio.



He started out like a house on fire and finished with a game-high five assists and was +24, the highest for the game and looked more confident than ever from the first tip.


The Jazz plays the Sixers tomorrow and then Boston the day after, and then off to Las Vegas for three games so expect Exum to continue his aggressive play and it should carry on through to the regular season.


Vs. San Antonio – 27 minutes, 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal


Mitch Creek – Utah Jazz


The former Adelaide 36ers captain didn’t get any court time for Utah against the Spurs, but that doesn’t seem to have dampened his spirits.  Judging by his Facebook page, he hasn’t taken off his Utah Jazz apparel and is enjoying his time in Utah and learning from some of the best in the game.



Vs. San Antonio – Did not play


Nathan Sobey – Utah Jazz


Creek’s Adelaide teammate didn’t play in Utah’s opening game because of ‘general soreness’ and will miss their second game against Philadelphia.  General soreness is a vague term so hopefully, it’s nothing more than the added intensity of an NBA team compared to the NBL.



Vs. San Antonio – Did not play


With another week of games and plenty more Australians coming up on the schedule, it’s a fantastic time to be an Australian basketball fan.

Author: Kyle Abbott (85 Posts)

Kyle has barracked for the North Melbourne Giants, Victoria Titans, Victoria Giants and the South Dragons. He's hoping the Melbourne United don't fold like the rest of them